pros and cons of compression stockings

Compression Stockings: Benefits and Side Effects 2024

If you experience constant discomfort in your legs or feet, compression stockings may be a good solution. They improve circulation by applying moderate pressure to the legs and ankles to help return blood to the heart. However, if you have sensitive skin, using compression stockings may cause discomfort. 

In this article, we'll look at the pros and cons of compression stockings, who they're for, and how long they should be worn to help you decide if they're right for you.

Benefits of Wearing Compression Socks

When it comes to the benefits of wearing compression socks, the advantages extend beyond just comfort. These specialized garments offer a range of positive effects that can significantly impact your overall well-being.

pros of compression socks

Boost Your Blood Flow

Scientific research findings have consistently shown that wearing compression socks can lead to improved blood flow in the lower limbs. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who may experience poor peripheral circulation, leg tingling, or restless leg syndrome. By applying gentle pressure to the legs and feet, compression socks encourage better blood circulation, alleviating discomfort and promoting healthier vascular function.

Moreover, athletes and individuals with physically demanding lifestyles can benefit from enhanced blood flow. A study titled "Compression Socks Improved Lower Limb Blood Flow and physical performance among elite wheelchair rugby athletes" revealed that compression socks could speed up the post-exercise recovery process among typically inactive adults as well as athletes.

 This means that wearing compression socks during or after physical activity can support better peripheral circulation and improve the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to leg muscles, ultimately aiding in faster recovery.

Less Pain and Swelling

Do compression socks help with swelling? The reduction of pain and swelling is another significant advantage associated with wearing compression socks. Whether you're on your feet for long hours at work or dealing with discomfort due to certain health conditions, these garments can provide relief by minimizing swelling and alleviating pain.

A study found that compression socks can reduce the symptoms of poor peripheral circulation, leg tingling, restless leg syndrome, and other related conditions by improving peripheral circulation and facilitating fluid drainage to keep your legs comfortable at night. Additionally, wearing compression socks when exercising could lead to less damage from the repetitive impact of running, thereby reducing muscle soreness and discomfort.

Great for Long Days on Your Feet

For people who stand or walk for long periods throughout the day, compression stockings reduce fatigue by applying targeted compression to key leg areas, thereby improving endurance and comfort during prolonged activity.

Furthermore, wearing compression stockings alone may reduce the risk of developing blood clots by up to 65% post-surgery. This indicates that compression socks not only alleviate discomfort but also contribute to reducing potentially life-threatening complications associated with poor blood circulation.

A Few Downsides

While compression socks offer a multitude of benefits, it's important to consider the potential downsides associated with their usage. Understanding these drawbacks can help you make an informed decision about whether compression socks are suitable for your specific needs.

cons of compression socks

They Can Be a Bit Tight

One of the primary concerns related to wearing compression socks is the snugness of the fit. While the gentle pressure applied by these garments is intended to promote better circulation and reduce swelling, some individuals may find the tightness uncomfortable, especially if they have sensitive skin or are prone to irritation. Additionally, wearing improperly sized compression socks can lead to discomfort and constriction, potentially exacerbating existing leg or foot issues.

Research has shown that wearing ill-fitting compression socks can result in skin changes and discomfort. It's crucial to find a pair in a comfortable length and material that suits your individual preferences and requirements. If you experience any discomfort or tingling sensations while wearing compression socks, it's advisable to reassess the fit and seek options that provide adequate support without causing discomfort.

You Need to Keep Them Clean

Maintaining proper hygiene when using compression socks is essential for preventing potential skin-related issues. Continuous wear without regular cleaning can lead to skin irritation, itchiness, or temporary skin dents. Furthermore, inadequate cleanliness may contribute to chafing, scraping, cuts, or bruises, particularly if there is dryness of the skin or air.

To mitigate these concerns, it's recommended to follow appropriate cleaning guidelines for your compression socks. Regularly washing them according to the manufacturer's instructions can help prevent skin-related complications and ensure that they remain comfortable and effective for daily use.

Not Always Fashion-forward

Another aspect worth considering is that compression socks may not always align with certain fashion preferences. While modern designs have made significant strides in enhancing the aesthetic appeal of compression socks, some individuals may still find it challenging to incorporate them seamlessly into their wardrobe due to personal style choices or workplace dress codes.

It's important to strike a balance between functionality and personal comfort when choosing compression sock styles. Selecting options that complement your attire while providing the necessary support can help address this concern without compromising on either aspect.

Who Should Wear Compression Stockings?

If you're wondering whether compression socks are suitable for your specific needs, it's essential to understand the diverse range of individuals who can benefit from wearing them. Medical professionals recommend compression stockings for various conditions, including diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins, leg swelling, and to improve circulation.

Post-surgical Person

Healthcare professionals emphasize the importance of wearing compression stockings post-surgery to improve blood flow, prevent leg swelling, and reduce the risk of blood clots. They are particularly beneficial for individuals recovering from surgical procedures as they promote healthy vascular function and aid in preventing complications associated with reduced mobility.

Post-workout People

Compression socks provide valuable support for athletes or people who are physically active, such as those who stand for long periods. Research "recommends that athletes and people who stand for long periods wear compression socks to improve blood flow and reduce muscle soreness." These specialized garments improve blood flow to the lower extremities, helping to improve physical function by allowing for faster recovery after exercise.

For Those Who Are Pregnant

Why do doctors prescribe compression stockings to pregnant women and how do compression stockings benefit pregnant women? Pregnant women often experience swollen legs due to circulatory changes during pregnancy. To alleviate this discomfort and lower the risk of circulatory problems. These garments effectively relieve swollen legs while providing the necessary support during pregnancy. Medical Professionals: "Compression stockings are prescribed for pregnant women to relieve swollen legs and lower the risk of circulatory problems."

People with Diabetes

For individuals living with diabetes, maintaining healthy blood flow is essential to prevent complications such as peripheral neuropathy and diabetic foot ulcers. Diabetic compression socks are recommended for individuals with diabetes to improve circulation and reduce the risk of potential vascular problems.

According to insights from medical professionals, compression stockings are effective in addressing leg swelling, a common concern for individuals with diabetes. By applying gentle pressure to the legs, these specialized garments promote better blood flow, reducing the likelihood of edema and discomfort. Additionally, they can aid in preventing impairments in vascular function, which is particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes who may experience challenges related to peripheral circulation.

The use of compression stockings for individuals with diabetes should be approached with caution and under professional guidance. While they can contribute to improved blood flow and reduced swelling, it may be advisable for people living with diabetes to avoid using compression socks unless recommended by a doctor.

How Long Should You Wear Compression Socks?

When it comes to reaping the benefits of compression socks, understanding the optimal duration for wearing them is essential. Whether you're recovering from surgery, engaging in physical activity, or managing specific health conditions, the duration of wear plays a crucial role in maximizing their effectiveness.

Compression Stockings

All Day? Yes, But Not to Bed

For individuals seeking relief from leg discomfort or aiming to improve blood flow throughout the day, wearing compression socks for extended periods can be beneficial. Medical professionals often recommend wearing them during waking hours to support better circulation and reduce swelling. However, it's important to note that wearing compression socks to bed may not be necessary for everyone. While some individuals may benefit from nighttime wear, others may find it more comfortable to allow their legs to rest without compression overnight.

It's advisable to consult with healthcare providers to determine the most suitable wear schedule based on individual needs and health conditions. By understanding your specific requirements, you can establish a personalized approach that maximizes the advantages of compression socks while ensuring comfort and adherence.

Listen to Your Body

When incorporating compression socks into your daily routine, paying attention to your body's response is crucial. It's essential to monitor how your legs and feet feel while wearing compression socks and adjust the duration based on your comfort level and any noticeable improvements in circulation or discomfort.

By listening to your body's signals, you can identify the optimal duration for wear that aligns with your lifestyle and well-being. This approach allows for personalized adjustments that cater to individual preferences and ensure consistent comfort throughout the day.

Hourly Recommendations for Different People

After discussing the pros and cons of compression stockings and who they are suitable for, we will then move on to a more specific discussion: how different groups of people should time the wearing of compression stockings. This is because not everyone is suited to wearing compression stockings for extended periods, especially given different health conditions and daily activities. We've put together a detailed table for you to get a quick overview.


Recommended Duration



Post-Surgical Individuals

14-16 hours a day

Supports healthy blood circulation and aids in preventing leg swelling due to reduced mobility after surgery.

Maintain this routine daily until advised otherwise by a healthcare professional.

Post-Workout Wear

2-4 hours after activity

Promotes better recovery by supporting improved blood flow and reducing muscle soreness after intense physical activities.

Consider optimal for promoting recovery after workouts or long-standing periods.

During Pregnancy

14-16 hours a day

Provides relief from discomfort and supports healthier circulation due to circulatory changes during pregnancy.

Recommended to wear it from morning until bedtime to mitigate swelling.

People with Diabetes

14-16 hours a day

Promotes blood flow and decreases swelling, tailored to manage circulatory issues associated with diabetes.

Wear consistently throughout the day, adjust based on individual health status and comfort levels.


Compression stockings offer a variety of benefits to different groups of people, including post-operative patients, those recovering from experiencing strenuous exercise, pregnant women, and diabetics. They work primarily by improving blood circulation, reducing swelling, and speeding up recovery. However, as beneficial as compression stockings are, they can also cause skin irritation, discomfort, and even rare circulation problems when used incorrectly. Therefore, proper sizing and wearing techniques are essential to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks associated with compression stockings.

To find out more or to purchase the right compression stockings, please contact our dedicated team for more information and support. We specialize in plus size compression socks from 2XL - 7XL in a variety of styles and colors for those who are heavy.

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